The World is Flat: FPD Globalization Subject of China Executive Roundtable

The World is Flat: FPD Globalization Subject of China TV Executive Roundtable

Globalization, supply chain collaboration, manufacturing efficiency, and technology trends were among the subjects addressed at the China TV Executive Roundtable, held at FPD China 2008 in Shanghai on March 12. With over 100 exhibiting companies from over 10 countries, FPD Expo is China’s premier flat panel display supply chain exposition.

Mark Ding, president of SEMI China, hosted the invitation-only event to address the critical supply chain needs and requirements affecting the global display industry. As major production centers in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China have matured, there has been a greater need for international supplier sourcing, industry technology roadmaps, effective international standards, and other techniques to mitigate growth and profit pressures in this cyclical, capital intensive industry. By bringing TV manufacturers, panel makers, equipment manufacturers, and material suppliers together to discuss comprehensive, integrated solutions to common industry needs, the Executive Forum sparks useful dialog, cooperation and specific actions designed to reduce industry cost and accelerate innovation.

Bruce Berkoff, chairman of the LCD TV Association began the program with an overview of industry growth trends and the dramatic “boom and bust” cycles that have characterized the industry’s development. “Our industry is at an inflection point for all HDTVs and LCD TVs in particular, in terms of growth, quality, new technology and market penetration. The growth has been amazing, with more than 40 million LCD TV sets sold worldwide in 2006, an estimated 70 million or so for 2007 and a market which should easily exceed 100 million units globally this year,” said Berkoff.

He pointed out the difficulty in forecasting by illustrating the wide disparity of estimates of industry analysts on industry performance during the 1996-2004 time period. “It’s hard to predict the future, when people can’t even agree on the past.”

Berkoff discussed many of the emerging trends in the consumer TV market, including wireless (first audio, then video), green considerations (green glass, RoHS conformance, low power design, recyclable packaging, etc.) and feature improvements (better blacks, faster response time, thin construction, improved viewing angle). He urged the industry to simplify and harmonize consumer specifications—especially in the increasing permutations of “high definition”—because people get confused and “confused consumers don’t buy.”

Mr. Hao Ya Bin, vice secretary general of the China Video Industry Association (CVIA), gave a dramatic overview of the impressive production and consumption growth of the China TV market. China has become the largest manufacturer of TV sets in the world, producing 88 million units in 2007. In the fourth quarter of last year, nearly 40% of China’s unit output was LCD technology, up from only 18% in 2006. While a leader in TV exports, 27% of China’s LCD output is for domestic consumption. Mr. Hao urged greater attention to human technology interface and more relevant industry standards.

Mr. Nick Yeh of Taiwan’s Optoelectronic and Semiconductor Equipment Association (TOSEA), reinforced the need to keep consumers’ interests at the forefront. Taiwan, which produces approximately 40% of the world’s LCD displays, sees China as growing in importance. “China has a huge consumer market, great financial means and enormous production resources. China is important to everyone in the supply chain and Taiwan will help.”

The roundtables—with representatives from Samsung, AUO and many Chinese producers—discussed R&D trends, China industry needs, and the growing globalization of the display supply chain. Mr. Yorkin Shang, General Manager, LCD TV Division, stressed the need for innovation. “Cost pressures are currently enormous; going forward, innovation is necessary.” AUO, with over 1,000 R&D engineers, stressed that technology leadership will be the key to success, and that collaboration on technology development, indigenous technology development, and elimination of R&D redundancy were important trends.

In discussing the global integration of regional supply chains, David Lindan from the TV Division of China’s TPV Group, said, “The world is flat and this should be reflected in all our operations. Focus on what you’re good at. This is how the supply chain can go strong.”

With over 100 exhibiting companies from over 10 countries, FPD Expo is China’s premier flat panel display supply chain exposition. In addition to equipment and materials suppliers, FPD China 2008 also features the world’s leading panel makers and TV manufacturers, including Samsung, LG, SVA, BOE, Tianma, HiSense, and Hitachi.

Held in conjunction with FPD China, the FPD China Conference held technical sessions on LCD, PDP, OLED and other technologies.

For more information, please visit the SEMI FPD Today website.